1952: It was reported that various suggestions had been put forward to Swindon Borough Council’s Finance Committee, for the lettering on a plaque to be placed at the Garden of Remembrance. The final wording decided upon was: This Garden of Remembrance, dedicated to the memory of the men and woman of the borough who were killed during the World War of 1939-45, was opened by Princess Elizabeth on November 15, 1950, during the Jubilee year of the borough.

1952: A train from Snowland brought Father Christmas to Swindon. As the crowd of children and parents at the station entrance watched, it was a fairytale scene brought to life. As he stepped out of his Santa railway engine, called Thrifty Mac, a fanfare sounded. The Swindon branch of the Royal Artillery Association Silver Band began to play and the procession started heading for Messrs William McIlroys Ltd in Regent Street.

1962: Wiltshire soldier Pte Alan Mackensie, 24, of Rylands Way, Wootton Bassett, would be joining Cpl Mike Williams of Pewsey, on a 2,000-mile canoe expedition from Sicily to England. Alan and Mike had been friends since they joined the Army during their National Service two years ago. The 11 members of the party and five canoes sailed from Malta to the start of their trip in Sicily.

1962: Visitors to the Wootton Bassett Traders Exhibition in the new Memorial Hall were impressed by the standard and wide range of products on show. President of the Chamber of Trade Mr S D King said it was an extraordinarily good show despite the bad weather, attendance had been excellent.

1972: Pensioners from Swindon it was reported would be attending a mass rally in London called by the TUC. They planned to lobby MPs including Swindon’s David Stoddart. At a meeting held in Manchester Road, Swindon, Jim Poole, the secretary of the Swindon Branch of the National Federation of Senior Citizens, said it was a nationwide call and Swindon would be represented.

1072: Swindon angler, Derek Hillier, had his third successive win when he finished top in the Talisman Open on The Thames at Lechlade. He had won the two previous competitions at Coate Water in Swindon. Hillier was a members of the newly-organised Two Plus Two Match group.


1734: American frontiersman Daniel Boone was born in Philadelphia.

1755: Marie Antoinette, Queen Consort of Louis XVI of France, was born in Vienna. Of the poor, she said: “If they have no bread, let them eat cake.”

1899: The Siege of Ladysmith in Natal began, with the Boers encircling the town.

1903: The Daily Mirror was first published in Britain, devised as a daily paper for women.

1930: Ras Safari was crowned Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia.

1950: Irish writer George Bernard Shaw died, aged 94. His hobby was tree-pruning, which he was doing when he fell and fractured his thigh. He died shortly afterwards.

1954: The classic comedy series Hancock’s Half Hour began on BBC Radio.

1959: The first stretch of the M1 motorway was opened.

1960: The Lady Chatterley trial ended with publisher Penguin cleared of obscenity.

1982: Channel 4 began transmitting.

2017: A third new species of orangutan with a small population of 800 was described by scientists.


Bruce Welch, guitarist (The Shadows), 77; Stefanie Powers, actress, 76; kd lang, singer, 57; David Schwimmer, actor, 52; Samantha Womack, actress/singer, 46; Marisol Nichols, actress, 45; Chris Walla, musician, 43; Danny Cipriani, rugby player, 31.